Olympic Medalist, John Carlos connects the Black Power movement to the Black Lives Matter movement at Garfield High School

1/22/15

Close to 600 people packed  the Quincy Jones Performance Center at Garfield High School, for a panel discussion with John Carlos, 200m bronze medalist, made famous by raising a black gloved fist with Tommie Smith in what Smith called a “human rights salute” on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics.

Joining the panel was Aretha Basu, community activist in the Black Lives Matter movement and Women of Color for Systemic Change, Marissa Jenae, community activist and organizer with Outside Agitators 206, Gerald Hankerson, president of the Seattle-King County NAACP, Jesse Hagopian, member of Seattle Equality Educators, teacher at Garfield High School, and recipient of the 2013 Secondary Teacher of the Year Award from the National Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, and Dave Zirin, host of Edge of Sports and sports writer for The Nation Magazine.

A few words from the panel…

“To not act is an injustice, itself”- Aretha Basu

“As an ally, it is imperative that we center blackness, that is what this movement is about. It is not about everyone’s oppression. I am an Indian woman, and the oppression against my community is different than what my black sisters and brothers are experiencing. As allies, we need to claim our privilege and understand our roles. We must use our privilege to further the movement. I know have the privilege to choose whether or not I’m a part of this movement. I have the privilege of continuing my daily life without this issue directly affecting me. You don’t see cops targeting the South Asians the way they do the black and African American Community. In addition to the criminal justice system increasing it’s persecution, the system has continually and blatantly devalued, dehumanized, and dismissed the black and African American Community. So how does a non-black, person of color be a good ally? Because being a person of color ally is quite different from being a white ally. People of color have experienced systemic oppression, but what we must remember, is that this is not the oppression Olympics.” – Aretha Basu

“The night that Darren Wilson was not indicted, was the first time I’ve ever been to a protest or a demonstration…I was thrown into a radical community of people who speak truth and sacrifice for each other, and love each other.”- Marissa Jenae

“Nobody is talking about our situation in the terms that we need to talk about it. People aren’t getting arrested, they’re getting kidnapped. This is not police brutality, it’s genocide.”- Marissa Jenae

“Agitation work is key to what we’re doing here…agitation is accountability, going out and making somebody feel uncomfortable, going out and hitting [someones] paycheck, going out and stopping an intersection, that’s really important. It paves the way for the good work people already want to do.”- Marissa Jenae

“We all have power in our different spaces to be resisting.”- Marissa Jenae

“I came out to the streets because of Mike Brown and I stayed because of the Seattle Police Department. They are untrained, they are unruly, and they are unaccountable and we cannot let it continue.”- Marissa Jenae

“There can be no youth jail built in this city. I don’t care if we have to chain ourselves, I don’t care if we have to stop every street in this city, I don’t care if I have to chase Ed Murray out of every event he goes to, but we cannot let a youth jail be built in this city. – Marissa Jenae

“I had the unfortunate reality to experience the system from inside and outside. I was 17 when I came to Seattle for the first time, from Georgia, just to come meet my mother. In one year, I was tried, convicted, accused and sentenced, to spend the rest of my life in prison for a crime I didn’t commit. Which is no different from the thousands of stories around the country right now…I was the first man, in the history of Washington state, to ever be released from prison after being sentenced to die.”- Gerald Hankerson

“You need to come to this community and ask us what we need, then go out and do it.”- Gerald Hankerson

“I no longer want to sit down and have this debate anymore, because I’m tired. My grandmother had these debates, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, and many of yours as well…give me the solution.” – Gerald Hankerson

“Why did I get pepper sprayed in the face? Do you think that this officer was really frightened of me turning away, on my cellphone, on the side walk? I don’t think that was it, I think this officer was afraid of three words, Black Lives Matter. What they realize, is that the phrase Black Lives Matter, it isn’t just a simple declaration that we’re human beings, it’s actually an indictment of a whole political system, of a whole economic system. An indictment of capitalism, a system that was born in slavery, and grew up on Jim Crow, and and has now developed into this institutional racist system we see today…the people that take your money by the billions and trillions and use it to go murder people in the middle East, those people are honored with medals, while our young black youth are shot down in the street with impunity. That’s how this system works, and when we talk Black Lives Matter…it would take a complete upturning of this system, an undoing of the entire social order and political order, and capitalism being replaced by something humane.” – Jesse Hagopian

The Patriots are cheats. I bring that up, because if you see sports as the sort of endeavor, where all that matters is if you win, and nothing else matters, you actually perform a very, very jacked up function in this society, all that matters is if you win, and nothing else means a damn thing. That’s why I’m so proud to introduce Dr. John Carlos, is because he represents a very different kind of tradition, that says the kind of world we live in means a hell of a lot more than the medals dangling from your chest, or the rings on your fingers.” – David Zirin

“I think about the same fear I see amongst guys here, not all those inside this room, but all those without the courage to come in this room. They have fear for offending their oppressors.”- John Carlos

“Racism is something that’s taught, you’re not born into this world as a racist.” – John Carlos

Space Needle Employees and Union Supporters Meet With City Council Members Over Wage Dispute

A group 15-20 Unite Here! Local 8 union members met with Seattle City Council members Kshama Sawant, Nick Licata, Jean Godden, Mike O’Brien, and Sally Clark to discuss the current wage dispute between Space Needle workers and the Wright family, owners of the Space Needle.  After presenting the council members with a poster showing photos of 120 Space Needle employees holding signs that read “I Deserve A Raise”, two employees from the Space Needle spoke about their low wages and to the experiences of their co-workers. Seattle Council Members expressed support for the workers struggle and offered to help in any way they could.

After talking to Seattle City Council, the union members then attempted to deliver the same photo petition to the CEO Ron Sevart and were prevented from doing so by the public relations director, Dave Mandapat. After listening to the workers speak to why they deserved a raise, Mr. Mandapat took the petition and promised to deliver to the CEO, stating that “an appointment is necessary to see the CEO”, regardless of the open door policy.

“Space Needle workers have been waiting for a new union contract since 2011, and many departments haven’t had a raise since the last contract was valid.  The Space Needle company and it’s owners have been actively anti-union in the past four years, using scare tactics to discourage union membership.  Despite the fact that the family is worth six billion dollars and the elevators can make up to $20,000 in one hour, the workers there have had to fight their employers for a living wage.  While the National Labor Relations board did find the Space Needle guilty on many different counts, the owners are actively appealing every guilty verdict they received.  I have found the disparity between how the company wants to be viewed as the symbol of Seattle, and the way they continue to disrespect their workers to be a constant disappointment.” – Jessica Severance, 4 year Space Needle employee

Seattle City Employees “Walk Out” in Support of Police Accountability

A crowd of nearly 100 city workers and supporters joined together for a rally at City Hall in Seattle to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and to demand police accountability. Speakers from the NAACP of King County and city workers spoke to the power of the Black Lives Matter movement and read their petition to the crowd. The organizers are a coalition of city employees involved with employee groups like the City Light Black Employees Association, the Citywide Black Caucus, City of Seattle Native American Employees, and SEqual, an employee group advocating for LGBTQ equality.

The Petition:

1421458693-citystaff_1

Seattle Activists Take The Streets On Annual MLK Day March

January 19th, 2015

Several thousand demonstrators took the streets of Seattle in a march in celebration of Martin Luther King Day. The event started at Garfield High School, and wound it’s way through Seattle, stopping at significant points along the way with speakers ranging from activists to Seattle City Council Members. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Seattle Council member Kshama Sawant, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and musician Macklamore were seen in the crowd as they marched to the Federal Courthouse on Stewart and 7th Ave. A text was passed around that activists had locked themselves together on Hwy. 99/Aurora at Mercer St. for a solidarity action with Black Lives Matter activists. While the other group was on Aurora, another group made their way to I-5 and briefly shut it down. Those activists attempted to join the Aurora group but were blocked by Seattle Police until an alley was found and the demonstration briefly held up both lanes of traffic on Hwy.99/Aurora, before being forced to the side of the street by SPD. Multiple arrests and use of pepper spray were reported.

 From the event website:

“The 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Day March begins at noon and proceeds from Garfield High School, 23rd & E Jefferson, Seattle, to the Federal Court House at 7th & Stewart, downtown Seattle.

The route is:  (minor modification posted 1/16/15) 23rd at Garfield, west on Jefferson to 12th; left on 12, past the Youth Detention Center, to Yesler; right on Yesler, past the Yesler Terrace construction project; right on Terrance (where Terrance, 4th & Yesler intersect), to 5th Avenue at the County jail; left on Columbia to 4th to Stewart; right on Stewart to the Federal Court House on 7th.

This route includes many locations of significance to Seattle justice activists:

Garfield High School is the home of an active Black Student Union, and the site of student-led participation in the Black Lives Matter movement protesting police violence against young black youth and men across the country.  The students led walk-outs from school that were nonviolent and self-disciplined in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Youth Detention Center is a focus of controversy, where youth, especially youth of color, are channeled into the school-to-prison pipeline.  We need more money spent in the areas that will help our youth become productive members of society:  housing, health care, education, nutrition, access to living-wage jobs, nstead of criminalizing our youth and spending money on imprisoning them. Yesler Terrace is Seattle’s oldest public housing community, with about 1200 residents.  A majority of these residents are African Americans and African immigrants.  The community currently houses low income people who are about to be displaced by “redevelopment.”  Hundreds of low income units will be replaced by middle to high income housing and commercial spaces, thus adding to the critical shortage of low income housing in Seattle.  In addition,  the hiring practices on the construction project for the redevelopment to not meet standards for minority contractors or workers.  Communities of color are very poorly represented on the job.  The County Jail - as most jails and prisons in the country- has an over-representation of People of Color and poor people.  These include people awaiting trial who are unable to raise bail.  African Americans are overrepresented at all stages of proceedings from stop and search to sentencing.  Why are we willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars per year to house prisoners, but so little to house and educate our youth? Seattle Police Headquarters is a focus of the march, as we protest unnecessary violence including killings by the police both in Seattle and across the nation.  Young black men, often unarmed, and sometimes mentally ill, are killed by police in our country on average every 28 hours.  Seattle police have used violence against youth stopped for minor infractions, have used racist language, Have assaulted handcuffed people in police custody, and have escalated situations to violence on many occasions. The Federal Courthouse represents a system of courts with another chance for accountability when local courts do not come through.  For example, in the case of the killing of unarmed youth Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the police officer was not indicted.  The Federal judicial system could consider the facts and decide to charge the officer with violation of Mike Brown’s civil rights.” – http://www.mlkseattle.org/pages.php?submitted=1&id=165

The press statement from the group blocking traffic on Hwy.99/Aurora…

RESPONDING TO CALL FROM BLACK LEADERSHIP, ACTIVISTS CALL ON SEATTLITES TO STOP AND TAKE NOTICE OF POLICE VIOLENCE

Today, we have decided to engage in civil disobedience, putting our bodies in the street for four hours and twenty-eight minutes. We do this to represent the 4.5 hours Mike Brown was left in the street after being killed by a police officer. We do this to challenge a reality where every 28 hours a Black person is killed by the police, security, or vigilantes. We are responding to the call from Black leaders, locally and nationally, to show up in solidarity and disrupt business as usual. We wish to lift up the demands issued out of Ferguson: fergusonaction.com/demands.

We are a group of white people, primarily Jews and queers, calling on our communities to stop and take note of the constant and devastating injustices committed by white supremacy. As white folks participating in direct action and nonviolent civil disobedience, our privilege affords us more safety than Black folks and folks of color exercising the same rights. We recognize that white folks taking political action is seen as more palatable, visible, or admirable. We urge white people to step up but not over and to center Black leadership and liberation.

This country was founded on and continues to operate on the oppression, exploitation, criminalization, and murder of Black and Brown communities. And yet, those of us with privilege are able to keep moving, keep riding, keep driving, and therefore continue our complicity in systems of oppression. Today we stop – in order to start moving towards justice, following the direction of Black-led movements.

Today, Black leaders are reclaiming Martin Luther King Jr. Day as more than a state-sanctioned day of service or day off school, and rather, a day to demand revolutionary change. We show up today to heed the call from Black leadership to interrupt our daily complicity, to honor the lives of Black folks killed by a racist police state and assert that Black Lives Matter. On this MLK Day, we witness the deep historical legacies of this ongoing struggle and refuse to let it be sanitized by a history book or a federal holiday. On this MLK Day, we are moved by Dr. King’s instruction to dismantle the “operations of an oppressive society”.

FERGUSON DEMANDS:
OUR VISION FOR A NEW AMERICA
WE WANT JUSTICE FOR MICHAEL BROWN. WE WANT FREEDOM FOR OUR COMMUNITIES


We Want an End to all Forms of Discrimination and the Full Recognition of our Human Rights

We Want An Immediate End To Police Brutality And the Murder Of Black, Brown & All Oppressed People

We Want Full Employment For Our People

We Want Decent Housing Fit For The Shelter Of Human Beings
We Want an End to the School to Prison Pipeline & Quality Education for All

We Want Freedom from Mass Incarceration and an End to the Prison Industrial Complex

NATIONAL DEMANDS


  1. The De-militarization of Local Law Enforcement across the country
  2. A Comprehensive Review of systemic abuses by local police departments, including the publication of data relating to racially biased policing, and the development of best practices.
  3. Repurposing of law enforcement funds to support community based alternatives to incarceration and the conditioning of DOJ funding on the ending of discriminatory policing and the adoption of  DOJ  best practices
  4. A Congressional Hearing investigating the criminalization of communities of color, racial profiling, police abuses and torture by law enforcement
  5. Support the Passage of the End Racial Profiling Act
  6. The Obama Administration develops, legislates and enacts a
National Plan of Action for Racial Justice

                            (over)

LOCALLY: In Seattle, John T. Williams and many others have lost their lives to police brutality in the street, on the light rail, and in the public sphere. On June 30, 2014, at the SODO light rail station, Oscar Perez Giron, 23, was shot to death by King County Sheriff Deputy Malcolm Elliott over a $2.50 train fare.

A 2011 investigation by the Department of Justice “engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force that violates the Constitution and federal law.” The DOJ also said that its investigation “raised serious concerns” that some policies of the police department “could result in discriminatory policing… When Seattle police officers used force, they did so in an unconstitutional manner nearly 20 percent of the time,” the DOJ said. Despite its language of racial equity, Seattle Public Schools is under federal investigation for the staggering rates at which it disciplines and expels Black students. Related: Black youth make up 8 percent of the juvenile population in Washington, but 42 percent of the youth sentenced to detention.

We lift up the demands of local Black-led movements like Youth Undoing Institutional Racism (YUIR) and End the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC)’s No New Youth Jail Campaign to oppose King County’s proposed $210 million “Children and Family Justice Center”. We demand King County work with those most affected by youth incarceration to create an alternative plan grounded in racial justice analysis and transformative community-based approaches. What if the $1.6 million in overtime that SPD has spent responding to protests from mid-November through December 16 was instead invested in Black communities?

To the SPD, to the Downtown Business Association, to those whose days are inconvenienced by our brief presence here, we remind you that the combination of anti-Black police brutality, disproportionate disciplining of Black youth by Seattle Public Schools, and rampant gentrification of historically Black neighborhoods has also been “disruptive” to Black communities in Seattle. Until Seattle and its police department stop brutalizing Black and Brown lives, allies will continue to engage in civil disobedience, and we will stand vocally and visibly in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Black Lives Matter activsts march through Seattle’s Central District in protest for police accountability

More than 150 activists marched from Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park to the King County Juvenile Detention Center on 12th Ave. in Seattle during a demonstration for police accountability. Activists took to the streets, stopping at several intersections along the way for moments of silence and speak outs. Support was shown as the protest marched down Rainier Ave. as people put their fists up or raised hands in a sign of solidarity.

From the Facebook event page…

“We, as young people, have chosen to come forth and call out the many inequalities within the current Criminal Justice System. This system has blatantly devalued, dehumanized, and dismissed people of color. The Black and African American Community in the United States have especially been targeted. We are outraged with this systemic failure.

To not act is an injustice within itself. As citizens we need to step up and no longer allow law enforcement to abuse their power. The current state of the Criminal Justice System has increased persecution of Black and African American people. We will no longer tolerate the mistreatment, lack of support, and denied opportunities for this community.

We are addressing these issues through peaceful protests, unifying actions, and productive dialogues. We invite law enforcement, elected officials, and community members to join the movement towards police accountability.

In order to ensure the mission of this protest is accurately portrayed we have come up with some guidelines. They are as follows:
• No violence
• Do NOT touch the police officers
• Do NOT deface/destroy city or private property
• Do NOT move city or private property
If you do not follow these guidelines you will be asked to stop. If your actions continue you will be asked to leave.

Peace & Love,
Women of Color for Systemic Change

Black Lives Matter.” – Protest for Police Accountability

In Seattle, supporters gather near the French Consulate for a candle light vigil in honor of those killed at Charlie Hebdo in Paris

As more than 100 members or supporters of the French community gather near the French Consulate in Seattle, tea lights were lit and pens and pencils were placed on a French flag on the ground, surrounded by candles. Many of those gathered held French flags or signs proclaiming “Je suis Charlie” in addition to candles as those in attendance stood in solidarity with citizens in France. A significant number of local media outlets had TV crews on scene.

From the Facebook event page…

“Pour tous ceux choqués par ce qui s’est passé et qui veulent montrer leur soutien, nous facilitons l’organisation de cette vigile.
VENEZ AVEC VOS:
– PANNEAUX/AFFICHES “I AM CHARLIE”,
– BOUGIES (il fera nuit!).
– STYLOS/CRAYONS
– mais aussi pourquoi pas drapeaux (moins important)

Afin d’éviter tout problème de “right of way”, merci de se retrouver en face du consulat (donc en dehors du trottoir et de la rue) sur le parvis du Clipper.

(ps: le city hall et la police sont prévenus).

ENGLISH:
If you are appalled, shocked, sad… about what happen to the journalists and cartoonist of the French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” , join the French community tonight at 7pm for mourning and defense of the freedom of the press.

Help us show that freedom of the press, and rejection of violence knows no boundaries, whether you are French, American or from anywhere, whether you Atheist, Christian, Muslim or anything else.” – Rassemblement “I am Charlie” en hommage et soutien à Charlie Hebdo

Demonstrators bring Black Lives Matter protest to Bellevue Square Mall

A Black Lives Matter demonstration at the Bellevue Square Mall in Bellevue, Washington brought approximately 35 protestors the the central area of the mall near the three story Christmas tree and Santa Claus photo booth. Shoppers gathered at the balcony to watch as the activists held signs, sang, and chanted in a circle at the bottom of the stairs. Mall security and Bellevue police were already on hand as demonstrators gathered and more soon arrived as holiday shoppers looked on. One mother, previously eating at a food court with her child, joined the demonstration in chants of “Black lives matter!” and “No justice, no peace!” Riot police arrived after Bellevue Mall Security read a statement from the mall asking the demonstrators to leave. When no one left, police in riot gear formed lines and eventually encircled the demonstrators. As Bellevue police read an order to leave the mall, demonstrators put their hands up and exited the mall. They then marched along the sidewalk around Bellevue Square and crossed at crosswalks, followed closely by Seattle Police on bicycles, riot police from Renton PD and Bellevue PD and several mall security guards. Upon writing this, there were no reports of arrests or police violence.

From the Bellevue Square SHUTDOWN Facebook event page…”Bellevue could really use a little #BlackLivesMatter spirit on the last weekend before Christmas.

We will have a presence at Bellevue Square Mall ALL weekend. Bring signs, link up with other protesters, and let’s disrupt a little comfort on the Eastside. Remember, always stay in groups.

To be clear, we need anyone and everyone who supports the #BlackLivesMatter movement to step up, show up, and show your solidarity this weekend. OA_206 will not be able to lead each day, so we are calling for individuals to take a stand and show Bellevue that Black Lives Matter.

Outside Agitators 206 will be present on Saturday at 2pm. We will be caroling for justice and may stage a die-in. This will be a peaceful demonstration and we wan to keep everyone safe.

Legal observers will also be there as well. See you this weekend.”